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Oklahoma City Thunder: Playoffs a relatively new experience for Kevin Martin

The last time Martin appeared in a playoff game was May 6, 2006. Martin's seven-year postseason dry spell will end Sunday at 8:30 p.m. when the No. 1-seeded Thunder face No. 8-seeded Houston at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: April 18, 2013

In terms of offensive production, the Harden-Martin swap wasn't all that far from being a wash.

Harden averaged 16.8 points in 31.4 minutes per game last season with OKC, shooting 49.1 percent from the field, 39.0 percent from 3-point range and 84.6 percent from the free-throw line.

Martin averaged 14.0 points in 27.7 minutes per game this season with OKC, shooting 45.0 percent from the field, 42.6 percent from 3-point range and 89.0 percent from the free-throw line.

The manner in which each player amassed these numbers was completely dissimilar, however.

Harden is a deft playmaker off the pick-and-roll while constantly being in attack mode.

Martin is awkwardly crafty, somehow getting shots off with defenders seemingly inches away from his face, and also capable of drawing contact on penetrating moves.

It was no easy feat replacing Harden, who was a near-unanimous selection as Sixth Man of the Year last season.

“I think he did well,” Thunder veteran forward Nick Collison said of Martin. “It's a tough situation. He's playing a different role than he's played throughout his career. … When you're in more of a limited role (as a reserve), you have to be more efficient. He's great at that. He's one of those guys where you can put him in and he's going to have confidence to take shots and try to score. And that's what we need him to do, especially with that second group. We need him to be aggressive.”

Martin's future with the Thunder is uncertain. He becomes an unrestricted free agent after this season.

When asked if being traded to a title contender turned out to be even better than he expected, Martin paused and smiled.

“Thinking back, there's so many emotions,” the soft-spoken Martin said in slightly more than a whisper. “I knew we were going to be in the playoffs and have great runs throughout the entire year, but I think overall just being in that locker room is something special.

“You've got to feel blessed to be in these kinds of situations. I've been thankful all the way back to October, to come to such a great organization and the way the players accepted me here. These 82 games went quick, and I don't want it to end.”


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